Ask A Lawyer Question:
I am currently in the military and deployed to Afghanistan. I have recently found out my wife of a little over a year is cheating on me. I’m wondering if it would be wise strategy to make her aware of my intentions to divorce while deployed, or would it be better just to wait until I return home so she would have less time to try and organize some sort of case if she wanted to claim alimony.
Also I’m wondering if she’d have any chance at gaining alimony or my personal assets, even though we’ve never actually lived together, have no children, and share no bank accounts or debt, and make about the same annual income.
Ask A Lawyer Answer:
The sooner you file your case the better, as the length of the marriage is determined to be the date of the marriage to the date of filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Thus, the longer you wait to file the more exposure you may have to alimony.
In the state of Florida, section 61.08 (4), Florida Statutes, defines the rebuttable presumptions for marriage lengths. According to the facts given, you are in a short-term marriage, or a marriage of less than 7 years. There is a presumption against permanent periodic alimony in marriages of this length.
Nevertheless, there are many other types of alimony in the state of Florida, including temporary, rehabilitative, bridge-the-gap, durational, and lump sum. However, if you both make about the same income, there may be little to no exposure for alimony since alimony is based upon a demonstrated need by one party, and the ability to pay by another party.
Regarding equitable distribution of marital assets, the court will set aside non-marital property to both parties, i.e. property you had before the marriage, property you inherited during the marriage, etc. Otherwise, the court will equitably distribute (generally 50/50) all marital assets and liabilities. However, given the short duration of your marriage, you could make the argument that there be an unequal distribution of property.